Saturday, January 31, 2015

31 - non fruit sugar is done

Today, I thought we'd check in with Elizabeth again. She made delicious jam dot cookies, and we also went to PCC where I got a chick chocolate cookie that possibly had a tiny bit of sugar (in the semisweet chocolate chips) but was mostly sweetened with maple syrup and dates. Elizabeth said it wasn't cheating so I went for it. Anyway, Elizabeth has a lot of thoughts on cookies.

Q: What did you bake today?
E: Some breakfast cookies. Feel free to link to the recipe. 
Added later: You can see they're not cookies. They're liked baked oatmeal pieces.
Q: Do you consider them to be real cookies?
E: No way. That's why they're called breakfast cookies. Real cookies are different.

Q: Please define "cookie"
E: As I said, cookies are dessert. They are delicious and I don't know...have sugar in them. Refined or not, doesn't matter.

Q: Describe the different cookie options at PCC
E: Well. There's the regular cookies which I have not taste but mocha chip sounds delicious. Then there's the vegan cookies, which are also pretty good, especially the ginger snap. And the chocolate chip. And then there's the chickpea chocolate cookie, which tastes like something I would make at home but not something I would go out and buy because it does not taste like a real cookie.

Q: Final thoughts on cookies?
E: I miss them. Sigh.

Beyond that, tomorrow starts a new challenge, and then Monday begins the cleanse. We had a great time shopping together for everything we need. I also made sure we got the best celery around, don't worry.

Friday, January 30, 2015

One more day

Today my mom left me a hilarious voicemail

"Hi Kate, you're probably climbing a mountain or drinking something disgusting right now but if you have some time tonight, give me a call"

I got the voicemail while I was at target debating different brands of dandelion root tea, so she really wasn't that far off.

In any event, I'm just about finished with all the stuff I need to eat by's a good thing we're not football people because having no treats on the Super Bowl would be lame if we were. Anyway, I have a muffin or two left for tomorrow, but really that's it. The fact that I'm not eating any non fruit sugar come Sunday has really just hit me. I just like have options. I like being able to just bake something if I want to. It's a lot trickier to make sweets when your options are dates or bananas. But I do think it will be fun. On some level. I am actually more concerned about being on the cleanse at this point than not eating sugar, but at least I have a buddy in this, and one with cleanse experience at that. Here's to Elizabeth, my partner in crime for all things just crazy enough to work.

More Jesus

I recommend a lot of things. If I didn't love what I was doing and the effects thereof, I wouldn't do it. I talk about a lot of books, recipes, diet and exercise changes, and how much I love the church, reading the Bible and personal musical worship. I realize I hold a lot of things to be important to me, and that not everything works for everyone. But the change your mind reading plan is truly something wonderful and amazing. 

I just read through Mark for the fourth time in less than 24 hours, and I have to say, reading the gospel over and over and letting Jesus teach me daily, hourly sometimes, is so radically transformative. I know I've shared this before, but my pastor always says, "read your Bible until it reads you". I think it is awesome to read the Bible from start to finish, and if it takes you a year, great. It's a year of Bible reading well spent. But I have read the Bible many times over and I have still seen so much in reading one book repeatedly for awhile. The first time or two, it's always about information. Context. Big picture. The story. And after that, it becomes about wisdom. Knowledge. Insight. Understanding. 

I was sitting there holding my Bible and tears came from nowhere. I just love the word so much. I love the Jesus it reveals. As my favorite survivor contestant of all time would say, "This book just breathes life". I love feeling the worn places. I love seeing the markings, the names, the quotes, the references. I love that everything from John to Ephesians is hanging on by just a thread in the binding. I love that the Kids min guide for this week is tucked on back with a 20 Schemes prayer card, that there's a bookmark made by Betsy where our pastor's preaching right now, and the schedule for Bible study slipped into the pages of Joel. To me, these are all Ebenezers, reminders of what The Lord has done and hope for all that is to come. 

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him 
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus 
O for grace to trust Him more

I get more and I want more. And it's all grace. 

More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.
 More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fulness see,
  More of His love who died for me.
More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.
More about Jesus; in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.
More about Jesus; on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

29 and mighty fine

I am working to eat all the fun things I made before I can't anymore, so I've recruited Elizabeth's help. The zucchini chocolate muffin cakes, super healing flax muffins, zucchini tomato focaccia and green smoothie pancakes all have to be gone by Sunday when no non-fruit sugar kicks in. I also need to drink up my (unsweetened) soy milk because Monday is the first day of the Fresh Start 21 (or something) cleanse and there's no soy allowed. Also, there's no alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy, eggs, meat and sometimes no grains and sometimes no legumes. But I'm sure you will hear more about that later.

But today was a landmark day for another reason: I felt awesome after my spinal adjustment AND still awesome after work. Usually I feel mostly ok after the adjustment and less ok after work. Tuesday I felt wooohooo after the adjustment and then ouchie again about 20 minutes into working. But not today. It was all woooohooo all night long. So I'm excited to go again tomorrow after yoga. Fridays are my favorite yoga and chiropractor days. Also I don't have to work which is always great.

I am thinking post cleanse/challenge, I could probably stand to make Mighty-O's a not every or bi-weekly thing, but maybe more like a two or three times a month. I just feel so great right now that I don't want to eat a ton of sugar all the time again. These are the perils of eating healthy - you just want to keep doing it!

Exodus Haiku

I loved reading Exodus. I think the danger of this reading plan is that every book becomes my new favorite book of the Bible. It's the most thrilling thing to have this incredible thirst for God and His Word. I can't help but sing from I Love To Tell The Story - 

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best 
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest
And when in scenes of glory, we sing a new new song 
Twill be the old old story that I have loved so long. 

I think what I saw in Exodus over the last couple weeks is that our freedom from slavery is constantly being renewed. Exodus is the story of God's people being brought out from under the Egyptians, who tormented them and lorded over them, and how the Lord takes care of them. You'd think with their freedom they'd be happy, right?

Think again.

They quarreled with Moses and each other. They complained about not having water (and God provided water from a rock). They complained about food (God rained manna from heaven). They said it would be better in Egypt. They made an idol while Moses received the commandments that would be the sign of the covenant relationship God had with His people. Think about what a blow that is. Can you say unfaithful maybe? And as always, God's faithfulness is magnified in our filth.

I crafted my haiku with the idea that slavery is not always about your location or your job or your social status. It's about your heart. You can, like the Israelites, be completely free and totally enslaved to your self and your sin, or you can be in prison and one hundred percent free to worship and love Jesus.

I posted this story awhile back, but here it is again:

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand spoke of Jesus in Communist Romania, and paid dearly for it. He spent 14 years in prison, being tortured on a regular basis. He lived in silence, with no books and nothing to write with, not even a cellmate to talk to. He composed over 300 sermons while in prison, committing them to memory using rhymes and other memorization strategies. He spent his first hours after being released just writing them all down so he would not forget.

Richard Wurmbrand also wrote a number of books. I am reading Alone With God, and he shares his thoughts from his cell. In one breathtaking line, he talks about freedom:

I do not desire to be free. I am free.

The apostle Paul would say it this way

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound in chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 
2 Timothy 2:8-9. 

I think I had so much fun reading Exodus because it helped me look at what kinds of slavery God has led me out of already, and what kind of freedom He still longs to give me. It's an exciting thing, salvation and sanctification.

And with that, here's the haiku

God is who He is
He sets all of the slaves free
Back then, and today

And my presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

28 feeling great

Fructose is poison 
That I'm not eating right now 
It's not a big deal. 

I hope you enjoyed this haiku. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Today I realized how many people are seeing how terrible sugar really is - and doing something about it! I have a few community group people who are doing a sugar detox right now, and one of the preschool teachers at the gym is getting started now too! It's fun listening to everyone's experiences, and how they differ. Teacher Rachel also recently watched Fed Up, and Teacher Julie wants to. Kathi said she doesn't really feel that different, but she also doesn't eat gluten or dairy, and never ate too much sugar anyway. Rachel is interested to see how it will go for her. I have begun adding an asterisk to my experience because I was reading about what happens when you first start going to a chiropractor, and I've also just started yoga. As I've shared here before, it's hard to point specifically at any one thing.

Going back to yoga, one of my mom friends at church this weekend (yeah, I'm young, single, and I have mom friends. Deal with it. Jordan says I am a mom I just don't have a kid) said she likes doing yoga at home and we were talking about it, and how I also go to classes. She asked me if it "ever got weird", which is Christian speak for "blasphemous" "heretical", etc. I said not really, and I shared how it's brought me closer to Jesus. Well today we did a meditation on a word or maybe two words (elizabeth help) - so hum? And it means something like I am all that is? Anyway, instead I used my meditation to think about when God revealed His name is Moses in Exodus 3, and He says I AM who I AM. So I think for me as a Christian, it's important to be grounded in the truth of who God is, who I am, and what the Bible says. Otherwise, yes, it might be easily to be "taken captive by vain philosophies" (Colossians 2:8).

Mostly I just really love Jesus. I was thinking about that on the way home tonight. It doesn't matter if I'm at yoga or sitting at home or driving in the car or eating dinner with Christians or not or whatever, I still love Jesus. It's my prayer that the way in which I approach all these things reflect that.


Monday, January 26, 2015

26 - Just for Kicks

Tonight I have nothing to tell you, so I'm going to interview Elizabeth and Jordan (not actually doing the challenge, she just wanted to participate). Elizabeth says I need to answer my own questions, so I am included. This was not really a dialogue; I asked Jordan the questions in Elizabeth's presence but it wasn't a conversation for the most part, just to be clear.

Q: What is the best part about not eating sugar?
J: I eat sugar
E: Ughhh I have to actually eat healthy snacks
K: There's so many good parts. I've been sleeping awesome (but that might also be because of the chiropractor. I don't know), and I have tons of energy and I still love eating fruits and vegetables. I've also learned a lot of new recipes and ways to bake and cook using less or no sugar. Oh, and I've been even more conscious while reading labels. It's fascinating to find out what's in food.

Q: What's the worst?
J: I like chocolate. Sugar's in everything! I'm not going to stop eating food
E: I can't eat chocolate. I can't eat anything I want.
K: Definitely the donuts, but you knew that already.

Q: How often do you think about the challenge?
J: Not often at all. The only time I think about it is with you guys and how much I want sugar
E: Probably every five minutes. Because all I do is look up dessert recipes that I can make without refined sugar, so I think about it all the time.
K: Only when I'm by Mighty-O's (which is now FOUR times a week).

Q: What food do you most want that you can't have right now?
J: There's all sorts of things...I want chocolate so bad right now, but none of them are animal friendly - happy animal - (E: There's vegan chocolate) Vegan chocolate's stupid
E: Chocolate
K: I would really love a raspberry riot donut. Also sometimes chai lattes from Kaffeklatsch

Q: How has this challenge made you think about your sugar consumption?
J: It makes me want to go to Mighty-O's real bad
E: I just really love sugar and I eat more than I should whether it's refined or not (*Reads newspaper*, says: Oh look! Maintain a healthy weight)
K: I was surprised how much sugar I was actually eating. I didn't realize it, until it wasn't an option anymore.

Q: How do you feel about February and no honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, sucanat, etc?
J: That I'm really glad I'm not doing that
E: I really really hope that I don't cheat or give up because I think I really need it and I'm alsoooooo terrified. Even though I know all the food will be good.
K: I'm kind of excited to see what the next level will bring, but also a little apprehensive. I just don't know what to expect.

Q: Anything else you want everyone to know?
J: That you should eat sugar. Mainly just chocolate, that's the only concern I have.
E: Um. I just want to tell everyone that (you might have to rephrase this one) um if you give up sugar you might not feel the same way Kate does. You might just feel normal or worse than regular, so that's all. You might still have much more trouble sleeping. And also you might just want to eat all the time and not workout and basically do nothing all the time because that's what I'm experiencing right now. The end.
K: In the same month we did this, I also started doing yoga and going to the chiropractor. There are a few different factors, so it's hard to point at any one thing. I will say, that I have experienced a noticeable upward shift in energy levels, quality sleep and desire for healthier foods.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Y'all, I am bored! 

I rarely say that, but I did this dumb thing tonight - I went babsitting and only brought the Confessions book. Now, you know I love me some confessions but it's not really the kind of book you read for long stretches at a time. The kids went down early and hadn't really made a mess for once in their lives so I just did up the few undone dishes and now it's quiet and I have nothing to entertain me. 

Not even sugar. Although they don't keep too much of that in this house anyway. I'm just being whiny over here. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

24 - Who needs sugar anyway?

This morning, I woke up around 3 totally convinced my alarm (set for 6:15 for pre work Bible reading and yoga session) was going off any minute. Since I sleep with my phone outside my room, I eventually succumbed to the desire to check what time it was. I was surprised to find out I was a few hours early. I slept until 5 when I once again awake ready for the world and unable to go back to sleep.

This was great, though, because I took a longer yoga session and really leaned into Exodus and some more from Confessions (why do I love this book so much? I've only read it a million times). And then I walked to work, where I had a great day with the babies. Typical.

I came home from work and hung out with my favorite roommate. I just love her. Then she had to go to work (BOOOOOO) so I decided to tackle my prep list for the week.

I roasted beets and sweet potatoes, then cut and stored them

I baked super healing muffins and stored them in the freezer

I made another recipe from my beloved greens book - Focaccia with tomato and zucchini

I roasted rainbow carrots for snack

I prepped dinner - brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions and hummus over half a sweet potato (yeah, small dinner, but I'd been sampling liberally from my stock all afternoon).

I made E a plate

And I did so many dishes today. And they're still not all done.

Jordan's (sort of, not sure what their status is at the moment, on again off again ???) boyfriend (?) said he's never seen anyone make food quite like me before. He said it wasn't a bad thing, but he also seemed skeptical.

So, why did I wake up so zazzy this morning? Was it the lack of refined sugar? Was it the AMAZING recovery smoothie (I'm not even sore, and I was sore last night already from yoga and cycle fit)? Who knows? Regardless, eating better, exercising and sleeping better all seem related in my life.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nobody likes you when you're 23

That's a Miley Cyrus reference for everyone who's not as with it as I am (let's be real; I only know it because I am 23 and I think it's a rule you have to then).

Today, I mentioned that I haven't had any cramps this month, and Elizabeth pointed out that the only big change in diet is the whole sugar thing. Hmmm maybe we're onto something here. Elizabeth also takes the cake for best roommate award for making me a creamy, satisfying, nutritionally dense recovery smoothie while I showered off my cycle fit sweat. Dates, coconut oil, swiss chard, avocado, peanut butter, banana, chia seeds, and soy milk made this a smoothie that ultraman Rich Roll could be proud of. I love her.

Also today, the I had a private yoga practice and the instructor and I talked about my back and then he asked how hard I wanted to work. Now remember, this is my fourth full in person yoga class ever. But I love this instructor. I wish I had videos of his classes. I would do them every day. So I made the naive mistake of saying "I like working hard". We did a challenging vinyasa cycle several times over in a half hour and then "played with some handstands" before challenging depth in a handful of poses and ending in an extended shavasana. He said he's amazed at my body control and awareness and doesn't like to tell me what to do coming out of poses because I know what I need...sure...the girl who didn't slow down for a pinched nerve knows what her body needs...but anyway. He also said that the more inversions I can do, the more pressure it will take off that nerve. Who knows? Maybe I can wow my chiropractor.

I spent an extended time in worship today, which probably sounded terrible because I have half a voice due to a cold (but if all I get is this cold and not the nasty flu going around, I'll be pleased), but it was just as heartfelt and honest as ever. I've been walking around singing "My heart is filled with thankfulness" by the Gettys. It's really true. I have so much to be thankful for. I feel like I'm in a really good place - I'm exercising, I'm eating well, I'm taking care of my body, I'm enjoying God's Word and His people. I probably sound like a broken record, but I have seen so much change in my life, and it all helps me love Jesus more. I recently journaled a lot about yoga and the Christian life, and while there are good arguments built around Christians taking an anti-yoga position, there are also good arguments neutral or in favor of it. I used to be so wary of it, but now that I'm involved (8 consecutive days and counting), I see how being connected to myself brings me closer to the Lord and helps me see Him and praise Him and enjoy Him, and when I do that I can be confident that I glorify Him. And what is the chief end of man but to know God and glorify Him forever? (Westminster Catechism question 1).

So maybe nobody likes Miley when they're (?) she's (? - is she even 23?), but I really like me right now at 23, and I think that's good enough.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow'r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev'ry promise is enough
For ev'ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev'ry thought is love.
For ev'ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.


I'm 8 readings in now, and I've really enjoyed this book. It's one of the easiest books of the law to read, because it's one continuous story.

One of my favorites verses I've discovered this week is 23.13

Make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips. 

We just wrapped our Hosea study, and the topic of idolatry has come up quite often over the course of our study. The reason why I like this command so much in Exodus is because I know the promise that's in Hosea

For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more

Once you know who God is, you really have no reason to worship anything or anyone else. He is it. And yet, we remain "prone to wander". This is where the promise comes in, and the truth we all need -

God is the one who works in us. He gives the commands, but He also fulfills them. He enables us to do them. The only reason we can live for Jesus is because He lives for us. In this, God is glorified.

But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16 

I don't know about you...22

I was too tired to do this yesterday.

Soooo remember when I said my back was hurting like crazy? I kind of thought I was just being a baby, but I went back to the chiropractor yesterday and learned I have a pinched nerve and scar tissue all over my hips and spine. When my pain was muscular and that severe, it's because my muscles were going into spasm trying to protect the nerve. I was not exaggerating, it turns out. The doctor said pinched nerves alone are enough to make day to day life incredibly difficult for most people, and I was working out just as often as usual (minus one or two classes) and coaching full la la whatever. In any event, there are approximately 20 spinal adjustments in my near future, including one yesterday and another today. Which means that in addition to being across the street from donuts once a week for Bible study, and down the street three more times a week at the chiropractor's, this sugar challenge just got that much harder.

Bad timing, spine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I have a nice post on Exodus coming soon...I think I just really love the Old Testament. I just need to be not half asleep when I write it. Tomorrow's really busy, too and so is half of Friday so just be patient and enjoy my lame sugar updates.

My biggest concern today is why people think it's necessary to add sugar to fruit. Particularly dried fruit. I went grocery shopping with Jordan this morning, and after our foray into the produce department at whole foods (beets/greens, rainbow chard, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rainbow carrots for me), we went to Trader Joe's. I love the fruit and nut section there. It's a blast. Just for fun, I started being that annoying person reading every label. I would say a majority of dried fruit has sugar added. The question is why? It's so beyond unneccessary. I've had their versions with no sugar added and it's delicious. It tastes like fruit. Why make it taste unnatural?

In short, fructose is poison and poison is everywhere.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Today I went to the chiropractor, which is a story in and of itself, but it was down the street from Mighty O. Pure torture! Any other season and I would have settled down post chiro with a donut and spot of tea but nope. 

Worst day of this challenge thus far. 

Monday, January 19, 2015


I forgot to write yesterday! Nothing new. 

Today we decided sucanat is acceptable this month. It is unrefined cane sugar and not super good for you but since it's technically not a refined sugar, Elizabeth and I decided we could have it this month. So I went to whole foods and got some. Wahoo. 

Today, I made the kale and basil cornbread muffins from the greens 24-7 book, and spaghetti squash tacos. I haven't had the tacos yet, but the muffins are great! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Today, I read Matthew for the 20th time. Scholars, both religious and secular, often note that Matthew takes special care to show how the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in both the coming of John the Baptist as well as Christ's birth, ministry, death and resurrection. 

The more I read it, I became more tuned in to the longing of the prophets - think the book of Hebrews, particularly chapter 11. 

Women received their dead — they were raised to life again. Some men were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection, and others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us. (Hebrews 11:35-40 HCSB)

In Matthew, as in Genesis, I saw how life happened exactly as God said it would. But I also saw how intensely faithful ordinary people like Joseph and Elizabeth  really were, and how they believed God. All the prophets did their job and longed for people to praise Messiah when He came. 

With that, here's my Haiku

The prophets told us 
Messiah would come - He did. 
Christ died, and he lives. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Today I used the greens cookbook to make spinach ginger cookies! They were good. I used all whole wheat flour and maple syrup instead of sugar and fresh ginger as a garnish instead of rolling them in sugar. And they were good. And not just good for not having refined sugar in them, really good! 

Also, in the stuff non vegans say to vegans category, we have this: 

No Jordan, I'm vegan. I don't eat protein. I only eat fruits and vegetables. 

Really? I exercise 7-9 times a week and you think I don't have any protein in the house? Geeze. 

Elizabeth and I are hanging out in my room and earlier I got hungry so I pulled out some flax chia peanut butter and plantain chips from my backpack. She laughed at me but backpack snacks are important, I'm telling you. 

Also, I did yoga by myself today! I think I really like it and want to make it a thing more regularly. I can only go to two classes a week, but hooray for YouTube videos! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Elizabeth and I discuss chocolate chips

Me: I thought I would miss chocolate chips because of how much I love fake cookies (oats, nut butter and fruit/chocolate chips/cinnamon/honey/whatever) and how I always make them with chocolate chips but I've just been using raisins instead and it's been just fine.

Elizabeth: Yeah sometimes I do that but it's not fine.

Me: To me they're pretty much the same.

Elizabeth: They are not the same. Raisins are pretty lame compared to chocolate chips.

This is akin to my discovery of dried apriocts. I declared that they were just like candy. Jordan tasted one and said, "Those are NOT candy. At all"

Also, for your bonus K&E exchange of the night

Me: My back (I had SEVERE back pain earlier this week) only stops hurting when I'm active. When I rest it starts hurting again.

Elizabeth: Have you made an appointment with the chiropractor yet?

It's like she thinks there's something wrong.

Elizabeth thinks I may not be normal. I wonder why.

(Less) Sweet 16

Nothing of note directly concerning sugar. I ate a larabar, which is becoming a new normal that I'm ok with. Eating a whole instead of a half now too! I am salivating over the Greens 24/7 cookbook constantly, making the chickpea flour-based veggie quiche this morning! It's helping me channel my greens craving that has to far stuck by my side (spinach, kale, rainbow chard, zucchini and fresh basil are all currently in my corners of the fridge). I've been turning over some of the green desserts to also make them refined sugar free, so wish me luck. I'm too impatient to wait for this challenge to be over! I'm also really digging beets right now. They're said to boost your energy, and tonight before cycle fit, i don't know if it was the beets or the 3pm coffee or the combo, but I was suddenly wired. I've been adding chia seeds to pretty much every meal to help boost the calorie and nutrient count, and it's been going well. I'm taking group fitness classes as many as 8 or 9 times a week so I'm starting to feel like an athlete again. Elizabeth reminds me that means I have to eat like one. So does fitbit. I have two graphics that help keep me on track. I wrote probably the weirdest review for fitbit on amazon because most people talk about losing weight on it and I'm trying NOT to lose weight, and it's helping me out a ton. Yup, I'm that person. The haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate and the [refined sugar free] bakers gonna bake bake bake (I know it's allegedly "fakers gonna fake" but I'm not buying it) and I'm just gonna shake shake shake shake it off shake it off

Quieting Down

I've noticed that since avoiding tv again, my rest has been much better and more fruitful. I've really dug into this Bible reading plan, and I've found that it's quieted my heart. I'm more easily stilled, more easily brought to wonder looking around me. I can spend hours in praise, sometimes even strumming the same song.

I'm in my 15th reading of Matthew before I see this in 11:29 -

you will find rest for your souls 

and I realize that rest is made perfect, full and compete in Christ. By drowning out the voices of this world, I tune into the fullness of Jesus Christ. And I do, I do find that rest for my soul.

"Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in thee" St. Augustine, Confessions

Thursday, January 15, 2015

'Cause when you're 15...

We are almost halfway through the month of January! Not eating sugar has led to keeping less other junky type foods in the house. So when I'm hungry, there are fruits, hummus, vegetables, nuts/but butters, and larabars. (Sugar free) bread and/or flax tortillas. Which can be annoying when you just want to eat something crappy, but probably good for me in the long haul. Especially with whatever's going on in my back.

My kids need to watch Fed Up. They asked if they could leave gymnastics to go buy m and ms. What a fail. I tried to tell them how they've been tricked into liking sugar by food corporations but they weren't buying it.

Also, Jordan is sick and said,

"You know what helps you feel better? Sugar and processed food"

What actually helped her: essential oils and elderberry +zinc lozenges.

Speaking of, I've been really into natural remedies lately...elderberry as preventative medicine and then cough syrup, ginger for nausea, essential oils for headaches, and now bromelaine for my sore achy back. This really does help point me to Jesus, through whom all things were created. I am really seeing how well God made our bodies, and how He gave us what we need to heal them. I think modern medicine can be really necessary and totally awesome too, but I've also enjoyed seeing how plants can help common ailments in day to day life.

If I hadn't lived with Elizabeth, I wouldn't have read Finding Ultra and went vegan or watched Fed Up and gave up refined sugar for a time or read What to Eat or Salt Sugar Fat and kicked processed foods for real (ok so joe-joe's but whatever). I really think all of these things piqued my interest in natural remedies, namely because they work. Yesterday, I was in a lot of pain, and I heated, iced, took ibuprofen, excedrin, massaged, let Jordan crack my back, stretched, rolled, did yoga, used biofreeze, and icy hot and NOTHING helped even a little bit. So I googled natural remedies, went to Fred Meyer and got some Bromelaine. It's the only thing that's had any effect on me, and it's wonderful.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Today my back hurts soooo much! So I skipped cycle fit. I feel kind of bad about that, especially because it's a new teacher and I just hate missing these things. But it's for the best. 

Also, pineapple enzymes. Helpful. 

Sugar is whatever. I went on an outing with two non Elizabeth roommates to whole foods. Sometimes I want a treat but then vegan Mac and cheese is on sale so I'm all good. 

So yeah. Except, you know, the donuts. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lucky 13

The sugar challenge had no effect on me today. The fitbit is helping me remember to eat more, so that's good. I'm no longer over a thousand calories under my target...

Elizabeth came with me to my favorite class today - cycle fit! I was pumped. Also, if she hadn't come, it would have been another private class, and those are just too hard. 

She's probably going to hate me for this, but I was journaling today and this is what I wrote about her: 

I really am so thankful for Elizabeth. I don't know if she knows how sincerely I appreciate her. She really did play a big role in changing my life. I feel so much better now that I've axed most of the processed foods and stayed away from dairy, meat and eggs (more or less), and right now - cut back on sugar. Before it was always "ugh I guess I should try running or something?" and now I love being active! It's a habit and a hobby. I look forward to even hard workouts, which I haven't really done since gymnastics. Cheers to Elizabeth. 

For another reflection on life, body, mind and food, let's turn to one of my thoughts on my 5th reading of Matthew 

10.30 "even the hairs of your head are all numbered". God knows us better than we will ever know ourselves. It's so good for me to remember this, as I explore fitness and nutrition - as well as I get to know my body, Jesus knows it better. It also gives me perspective and a framework. I can learn how to praise God for how He made everything and how He restores and how He heals. The ground He spoke into being grows the plant life He developed and feeds the body He knit together in the womb! Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised! 

Monday, January 12, 2015


Lara bar uber!!!! At grocery outlet! 15 bars for $6. That's a big, delicious deal.

Also, I got a refined sugar free cookie at fred meyer tonight when I went for almond butter.

What can I say? Sometimes I eat a cookie for dinner. Sue me.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 11

I may have eaten refined sugar today. I don't know. 

I was having a moment (well, a series of moments that actually lasted all morning and into the afternoon) and decided to go to the Veggie Grill. I walked there, so plus for me right? Anyway, I got the Mac and cheese, which I haven't had in FOREVER and the Thai chickin' salad. 

I forgot about the mandarin oranges on the salad which are probably soaked in fruit juice until I ate it. I also was too weird to just ask what was in the dressing, and I barely even like salad dressing anyway so I stayed safe and ate the salad dry. 

I got home and looked up the nutriton facts on their website so I could log my food with my fit bit, and I found out that there is sugar in both parts of my meal. Now, it doesn't distinguish what kind of sugar so it may have been natural and/or unrefined, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I just thought I should let you all know. 

Also, I have to remember to ask about these things if I'm going to live up to the spirit of the year of no sugar family. 

Otherwise, I'm still doing just fine over here. Minus, of course, the donuts. 

Haiku 1

1,000 chapters later, I have the Genesis Haiku. 

I was most influenced by the themes of God's faithfulness, sovereignty, and His ability to make something out of nothing. I cannot recommend this reading plan any more highly. You can even start with shorter books of the Bible if it seems too daunting. 

Without further ado - 


It was as God said 
We disbelieved His goodness 
He did as promised. 

Summarizing this massive book full of major Bible characters and well-known tales into 5-7-5 lines wasn't easy, but I feel good about this one. 

Next up, Matthew 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mighty 10.0

Elizabeth made awesome granola balls WITH dairy and refined-sugar free chocolate chips today. I love her. I had a long, stressful day at work so the treats were gladly appreciated. Super yum.

Alright, so I think I'm making this sugar challenge seem too easy, so I'm going to be real with you.

I have always loved donuts. Always. Saturday mornings were days for vanilla long johns, apple fritters, hot fresh glazed from Krispy Kreme, and the ones with the pink frosting at Dunkin' Donuts. They're just so yum.

I'm lucky to live in Seattle, home of Mighty-O, non-gmo, vegan and organic donuts. I live less than two miles from the store, and I go to Bible study across the street every week. And it's practically on the way home from church. Prior to the refined sugar challenge, I was easily averaging 3 donuts a week. I know - vegan donuts still aren't healthy - but gosh dangit it's my one thing so just let me have it ok?

Anyway, since I was gone the last two weeks of december, and the cleanse isn't over until mid March, I have to go the longest I've gone without a mighty-o donut since I moved to Seattle! Think about that one. Not eating these are the worst. Especially the fresh ones, particularly the raspberry. And they make the absolute best apple fritters I've ever had. Ughhhh

I'll get over it.


Day 9 mighty fine

Today, I made peanut butter cups. They were kind of bitter and should have had more maple syrup but I actually quite like them.

In addition to my first yoga class, I also had a private cycle fit class and I haven't worked that hard in at least 3.5 years, possibly more than that. It was the most challenging workout ever. I just can't even begin to go into all the reasons why it felt impossible. And then, since we finished the hour long class 10 minutes early because we didn't take breaks AT ALL because "it's you, and it's Friday so we should  have fun" (note: fun means starting in a gear one higher, going up two gears instead of one, and doing stuff on either one leg or the upside down bosu or more commonly BOTH), we did a bonus song at the end. He said it was optional but he for sure knew I'd take his challenge. Also, it happens to be one of my favorite cycle drills so I also did it with a smile on my face. This caused the owner of the studio to say she wished she had her camera because it would be such a good photo to drum up business (I was wearing my tricycle tank top), but I was glad she didn't because I looked like a hot mess.

So, if you live in Seattle and want to come get your butt kicked with me, your first 5 classes at Tricycle Fitness are free, and Friday night cycle fit begins at 6:30pm. See you there.

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Yoga

Today, the plan was to go to ballet, fast walk back, and then check out the new yoga class at Tricycle (the group exercise studio I frequent). I woke up, though, and my hips and calves/achilles were ridiculously tight. The mere thought of standing in turnout, going in and out of releve and doing quick jetes for 90 minutes made me grimace from the depths of my soul. Instead, I went for a walk, grabbed a cup of coffee, and went through Genesis for the 15th team. I relaxed my way over to "Deep Dynamic Yoga".

I was amazed. The class was originally developed as a yoga for athletes, specifically national ski teams. The teacher was very instructive, helpful and hands-on. We did some active movements that built on momentum, but we also held a number of poses for several minutes. The teacher would come around and help you really sink into the poses. By the end of class, my hips were so loose and open, I couldn't even believe it.

He also talked a little bit about what yoga is and how it can be worked into our lives. He said something that really stuck with me, about how yoga is about bringing together two things that seem in opposition to each other and making them one - like gravity and lifting, body and mind, and, light and dark.

This is where my readings of Genesis really came in. We ended in corpse pose, and I was thinking about how in the beginning, God separated light from dark, but at the same time the darkness is not dark to Him (Psalm 139). In fact, He, as Jesus, the light of the world, entered into our darkness to bring us into the light, the true light of His presence. All of this led to me crying just a little at yoga class because of how deeply good and faithful God is. This is also another reminder that immersion in the Word can breathe new life into every part of our day. Writing His Word on our heart lets us carry it with us wherever we go.

I'm hoping to make this class a pretty regular thing for me, although it might be tricky with ballet. We'll have to see how things go.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1-5

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:11-12 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:1-5, 9-13

Thursday, January 8, 2015

8 is great

I love baking. I just do. My mom was the baking mom when I was growing up (and she still is the cookie lady for our neighbors, family and friends nearby), and I crafted my first signature recipe before I could consistently write legible cursive (do they even teach penmanship anymore?) 

The curious thing, is that while I love baking, I don't actually love baked goods. Yes I appreciate delicious scones/cookies/brownies/cakes/bars/muffins (and donuts), but if I make a batch, I have no problem eating one or two and sharing the rest. Maybe I'll eat one a day until they're gone. And that's part of what I love about baking: I love when other people enjoy what I make. I also love the process; for me it's an activity as much as its a means to the end goal of a delicious treat. It's a true hobby for me. And eating isn't really a hobby of mine in the same way. 

That being said, it is easier to use white and brown sugars in baking. It just is. And chocolate chips make everything just a little more delicious. So having to work around that is a challenge for me. But I like challenges. Vegan baking was once new territory for me, and I really don't even think about it anymore; substitutions just come naturally and I don't give myself other options. Maybe sugar will turn out the same way, although I sincerely doubt it. 

Today I made the carrot cake cookie recipe from the Thug Kitchen cookbook Elizabeth got for Christmas. I used maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I think I should have used half maple syrup and have molasses to make the cookies more delicious. They were also more like scones but that's cool with me. And they have carrots and raisins in them so your fruits and vegetables are all squared away there, right? 

The larabar apple pie bar is my new favorite flavor, by the way. I love that they have so many flavors with just a few but and fruit ingredients. 

I have upped my fruit intake, anticipating sugar cravings...I figure if I'm eating natural sugar I'll be less tempted? I don't know, but I'm really into apples, bananas, dried apricots and raisins right now so I'm going to go with it for now. 

And that's it. Bye. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

7th day minus sweetness

I'm sorry, everyone. This is the worst challenge report blog ever. Maybe because this doesn't even feel like a challenge most of the time. It's had very little actually effect on my life (besides day 3. and sort of yesterday, but I probably would have tried to make a different choice anyway so there's that).

In other news, I fee awesome! Like really excited about EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. I probably need to calm down. I'm hardly even drinking coffee. Ok so maybe a cup a day but not every day so I think that's still a win. How's work? GREAT! How was the workout? SO FUN! How was group? REFRESHING! How's your day? EXCELLENT! How was church? SO ENCOURAGING!

I don't know if this has anything to do with not eating sugar or not. But it's still going on right now so I thought I'd better include it.

Oh, also I've been sleeping superbly well since break. People who know me know that this is a BIG DEAL. I've been going to bed fairly early (typically between 9 and 10) and waking up naturally around 5:30 or 6 feeling ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. Again, I don't know if it has anything to do with the sugar thing but here it is.

Further, I wonder how I could get a job advertising for FitBit. I just love it so much. It makes you (color-coded) charts for EVERYTHING! Water. Food. Steps. Calories. Activities. Amazing, I'm telling you. According to it, I need to work on eating about a thousand more calories a day on that's the new target.


I've read Genesis 13 times now. The change your mind plan is intensive, but so worth it if you ask me.

If I could bottle my enthusiasm, I would share it with you, I really would.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 6

Still veggie obsessed. I wanted a snack this morning so I roasted some rainbow carrots and made Angela's tahini cumin sauce, if that tells you anything. I also forced my vegetable craving ways on my church family and roasted a big, beautiful pan of rainbow carrots, red peppers, broccoli, red onion, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil for sharing. Also, since we were doing beans and rice tonight, it was the most vegan-friendly group we've ever had!

I did have a moment today where I just really wanted something crappy. This happens when I'm not not eating sugar, too, so it's not necessarily unique. It's just not as simple as eating a square or two from my favorite chocolate bar (trader joe's dark chocolate lover's). So I drank some water and ate an apple. And I felt good about it; it's not as though I was still craving anything else afterward. New habits?

I had that moment where I realized that I work with a preschool and valentine's day will fall during a no sugar zone and that's going to be rough. But I'm just trusting the process. That's all I can really do.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 5

I had nothing that resembled non-fruit sugar today. I ate half a banana. I didn't think about the sugar challenge at all.

Also, I got a fitbit from roommate Rachel. It is AMAZING! It's also magic. I'm convinced it's from the wizarding world.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 4

Today Jordan watched fed up with us. This is a miracle! 

Nothing else of note. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 3

On the third day of not eating refined sugar, my true love said to me, "please make some delicious brownies" 

You guys. If you find a friend who will live with you, go vegan with you, eat refined sugar, egg and dairy free brownies with you, and watch the same food documentary multiple times with you, hold onto that one! 

She blogs over at

I found this recipe over at Jillian Michaels' website and oh my. Also, I don't know why I never tried to find her website before. I love Jillian. And her website rocks.

I subbed flax for the egg and added some pecans leftover from another baking endeavor. 

Now there is quite a lot of honey in this so it's still pretty sweet but there's also minimal oils and fats. Pretty great stuff. 

Today I realized that even skipping refined sugar is full of little annoyances, inconveniences and limitations. But it's good, because it makes me think about why I want what I want and the habits I've created around sugar. Even if it's "just" stuff like soy lattes or flavored coffees or vegan cookies. It reminds me of what Kyle Idleman wrote in Gods at War, his book on idolatry - that we can be enslaved to something without choosing to be so, and even without recognizing it. We can be so comfortable with our idols that they become part of routine for us and we don't know how to do life without them. Identifying these hidden idols brings us closer to the true and living God, revealed in His Son, Jesus. 

Profound thoughts for day 3, I know. 

First Hike of the Year

Today, I took time to go out on a retreat of silence - a time of reflection on this past season, and vision casting for the new year. 

I was gifted with a particularly beautiful day at Rattlesnake Ledge. This is one of my favorite hikes. It's always beautiful, and it's always different. The hike itself is fairly challenging, but it's also short, so you work hard, but not for too long. The top is made for hanging out and staying awhile if you're down for it, and I definitely was today!

There were even chunks of time when I was completely alone up there, thanks to my early start on the day. 

I'll share just one or two insights gleaned from today, and keep the rest to myself. These retreats of silence are precious to me, and often very personal. 

I've read Genesis seven times in the last couple days. Today I was thinking about how the fall was about wanting to be like God. It's a beautiful thing when you think about where we are now in God's story, and how God in Christ redeems that hard-wired desire. Eve wanted to be like God in that she wanted to know what He knew, to be able to control what He controlled. It was about status and power. So what did God do with that desire? He emptied Himself and came down to get us. Jesus condescended to us, giving up the communion He had with God and the equality He had with His Father, so that we could be transformed to reflect His attributes. In Christ, we become kinder, more patient, more trustworthy, etc. For the Christian, to be made like Christ is the highest goal. The more we want that the closer we are to Him. 

On the way home, I teared up listening to Chase That, which is one of my favorite songs 

So holla if it hurts
But we were made for greater
Our greatest satisfaction is making His name famous 
So if we're never named among the greatest
They don't critically acclaim us
It ain't nothin to be ashamed of 
We gave it up for the Savior. 

Jesus Christ is able to satisfy our deepest longings. If we have Him, we have everything. There is absolutely nothing to gain by performing or by building up our material wealth or reputation, because there is nothing more valuable than being counted righteous before God. This is what we have in Jesus. 

The sun came out on my way down, and oh how beautiful it made the lake look! 

Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sugar challenge day 2

I'm still in a phase of craving dark green veggies and whole grains. And fruit. If I can stay here awhile, it will make this sugar thing way easier. 

The only bummer today was no vegan cookie for me at PCC after ballet, which is kind of my thing. I guess I've made sugar more of a routine than I realized. 

I babysat kids tonight who only wanted to eat fruits and vegetables for snack, and watch Bible stories all night. Also, they told me they wanted to go to bed at 7:30. No complaints. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

No Refined Sugar, Day 1

In the effort of full disclosure, I think I ate more sugar in December than several other months combined. The holidays make everything seem so special (and my mom is an AMAZINGLY GIFTED baker/candy lady). Now, I probably ate significantly less sugar than the average American - I didn't eat treats at every meal or plates of sweets at a holiday party; I don't drink soda, and I hate sugary alcohol drinks. Except wine. But wine has a tiny amount of sugar so whatever. I only went crazy by my own standard and probably no one else's.

Now that you know where I'm coming from, I will share my thoughts on day one -

Spaghetti sauce

I went grocery shopping, which hasn't been done in three weeks. I needed food. Specifically, I craved whole grains and colorful veggies. Yes, I crave these things when I don't have as many as I usually do. I like having the option of pasta, so sauce hunting I went. Trader Joe's was closed so I went to Fred Meyer. I headed into the natural section, thinking that would be my best shot. Also, I don't really use too much of the rest of the store anyway. I read every label and found that only 1/3 of the organic sauces had no added sugar. These varieties cost about twice as much as the kinds with sugar. Ever since watching Fed Up, I started paying more attention to added sugars, so I had an idea of what I was walking into, but come on! This is why, even when we want to do better, our country stays so sick. People go and assume this food is a good choice, and it's still full of extra sugar we don't need.
(Ok, yes, I could make my own sauce. And maybe I will do that more often. Buying it is just so much easier. Blah blah excuses).


I do make bread from scratch, but homemade bread does not store particularly well. Or last long - especially with 3 roommates involved. I like to buy bread sometimes and keep it in the freezer so I can make toast. Toast recipes. Yum. Anyway. Besides the obvious choice of Ezekiel bread, I wanted to do something else because one of my favorite brands, Dave's Killer Bread, was super on sale. It comes in several varieties, and boasts in whole grains, nuts and seeds. Of maybe six varieties, there was only one that had no refined sugar in it. I did buy a variety that contains molasses, because it's January. But February looks like it will be Ezekiel, homemade or nothing. Oh wait. I'm doing that cleanse in February. Different rules all together. Back to the bread of the day. I understand bread making, and that sugar can play a role in activating the yeast. And I enjoy a good honey wheat bread as much as the next gal, especially if I'm the one who made it. But I have made plenty of breads with NO SUGAR. It's possible, people. And it's delicious. And not poison.

Other than that, it's day one. You can do anything for a day, right? Not much else to report. I saved about $2.50 by not buying chocolate chips today. Lara bar makes bars with nothing but fruits (including dates!) and nuts, so no added sugar there. Yum!

I am already a bit nervous about next month, but as I told Elizabeth, I think doing no sugar will be easier on the cleanse, because there will already be limits and plans. I have NO CLUE how Eve (Year of No Sugar author) and her family did this for an entire year. They deserve a prize, for sure.

I was only going to blog occasionally, and definitely not today, but I wrote it out in my journal and it was long so here it is. I hope that not every post will be this long. If so, it will be a long month for you.

Quote from Fed Up

"They say skinny feels better, but me, I think food tastes better"*

*I hope everyone knows this is supposed to be funny. It's based on Kate Moss who one time said "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels". Maybe she had a tattoo? I don't know. This quote is uttered by an overweight teenager and is probably better if you watch it. Which you should do anyway. This particular quote is featured in the bonus section.


Jonathan Edwards read his resolutions once a week. I read them once a year, but try to keep one or two resolutions in mind regularly.

Here are my favorites this year

1b. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an oaccasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

I liked more this year than at least the last two years...those are the easily found ones. I probably have records from the two years before that somewhere but I really don't know where. Not on the internet anyway. If you're curious, here's a look back at 2013 and 2014